If you’ve felt bad for Richard Pitino after being dismissed by the University of Minnesota on Monday, wipe those tears. Just twelve or so hours after AD Mark Coyle “parted ways” with the 39-year-old head coach, Pitino found a soft landing at the University of New Mexico. Look out your window, Minnesotans. Did you know it’s going to be 70 degrees this weekend on Richard’s new Albuquerque campus?
BREAKING: New Mexico has hired former Minnesota coach Richard Pitino, sources told @Stadium.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 16, 2021
Pitino was officially unemployed for about 12 hours or so.
This hire isn’t a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. With Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan both in his corner and in the ears of important people at New Mexico, the writing has been on the Lobos’ wall since Saturday.
The U of M athletic department has stepped on eggshells throughout this process. Still, it’s the worst kept secret in town. That phony discretion is because of Pitino’s $1.75 million buyout, which the U of M doesn’t want to foot. Now that Richard has found a “soft landing” in New Mexico, they’re expected to foot part of that buyout bill.
Why the U of M cares so much about a $1.75 million buyout when one IU booster just wrote a personal check to pay all of Archie Miller’s $10 million buyout in Bloomington, is a topic that needs its own blog. But yes, this process has been an embarrassment.
When we find out details on who will cover what part of Richard’s buyout (if we ever find out), it’ll be added to this blog.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan